With the departure of Burt, Hague and now Warsi, the FCO is left without any ministers who show any deep personal commitment to human rights... It would be unfair to prejudge Philip Hammond and Baroness Anelay, Sayeeda Warsi's replacement, this early on. Instead, one must simply appeal to them to prove the sceptics wrong.
This country needs a foreign policy, but increasingly it has two. One is NATO summits, and conference calls with the White House: a global player, but whose star is on the wane. The other is as a self-declared aid superpower. DFID appears as a new Colonial Office whose role is to manage relations with poor countries.
You'll have heard, of course, of the maxim "Don't speak ill of the dead". However, you are probably less familiar with the media's recent modification to this: "Don't speak ill of the recently departed Foreign Secretary".
It is hard to think of two countries that have more in common than Australia and Britain. We share a language and a rich history - and, in the main, a sense of humour. We are both maritime trading nations. Australia inherited many fine British institutions including parliamentary democracy and the common law...
Where does Ed Miliband sit, then, in comparison with other recent leaders of the opposition? On some measures, the leader with the most similar figures is Michael Howard. Ed Miliband scores better than William Hague and Iain Duncan Smith, but this is hardly comforting news.
You may not agree with Jackson's choice of President, but the point is that in this age of infotainment - that hybrid of news and showbiz that has largely taken over the United States and is gaining hold here, too - it's important that we wake up and stay awake.
A summit took place in London this week tasked with ending sexual violence in conflict. Even if you weren't aware of this, you'd have been hard pressed to miss the fact that Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt were in the country. The two incidents were, of course, related, although from the barrage of press releases hitting my inbox charting the Hollywood stars' choice of designer outfits, not everyone seemed aware it wasn't a red carpet situation. Dubbed 'Team Hague' thanks to the stars flanking the foreign secretary as he made his way through the four-day global summit, Brad and Angelina were in London to bring attention - and more importantly action - to a topic that all too easily falls off the news agenda.
It's been quite a week. Foreign Secretary William Hague has described the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict as an "important moment in history" and that he challenges anyone to hear the testimonies of survivors and not take up the cause to end sexual violence.
This week has seen a flurry of activity around an issue that for far too long has been forgotten, silenced or viewed as an inevitable consequence of war: sexual violence in conflict. All of this is extremely important - but in the rush to 'do something' about the horrific crimes being committed in Syria, Central African Republic, Nigeria, and other conflict zones, we should not forget some basic premises.
"If I have a hope, it is that people will see this... and begin to understand what sexual violence means, what it does, and its true impact. For it ...
Collateral damage. Two words that change a woman who has been raped into a statistic. Two words that excuse sexual violence as an unfortunate but inevitable side-effect war...
The truth is that sexual violence - in warfare and otherwise - is still a choice someone has made. And at the moment it is a choice that will likely never see any form of redress or retribution. By teaching women who have been raped about their rights, supporting them to prosecute rapists and getting them vital medical support, we are not only helping survivors get the justice they deserve and crave, we are making a statement.
For too long violence against women has been viewed as 'a women's issue'- and when it comes to politics, the issue is usually given to the 'gender ministry' or tagged onto the role of a female minister whatever her official portfolio might be. Whilst working at the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), I remember how civil servants were scurrying around trying to find a woman (Lynne Featherstone as it turned out) to be the government's champion on violence against women and girls globally. But at the time she was a Home Office Minister. Why weren't we asking the male foreign secretary to be the champion? The person who has the ability to discuss these issues at the highest levels with their male counterparts?
During my years in Bosnia, both during the war and afterwards I heard and saw evidence of horrific stories of mass rape and sexual violence committed during the war. Thousands of women and children suffered terrible abuse and the physical and mental scars could stay with survivors for the rest of their lives. Years later, sexual violence still remains entrenched in conflict zones around the world and children are often the most vulnerable. Children suffering in conflicts are growing up in a world where they face the daily threat of rape and abuse and sexual violence is considered the 'norm'.
"We are trying to do something that has never been done before -- to change the entire global attitude towards sexual violence in conflict," William H...
On this anniversary, I want to salute the bravery of Edward Snowden. His conscious courage has given us all a fighting chance against a corporate-industrial-intelligence complex that is running amok across the world. I hope that we can all find within us an answering courage to do what is right and indeed take back our rights. His bravery and sacrifice must not be in vain.